Well, now that I’ve discussed The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Co.’s rules for social media to death, it’s time to take a peek at other newspapers’ policies. (Hats off to Steve Buttry for a post that alerted me to The New York Times’ and The Washington Post’s policies.)
The New York Times:
The New York Times says it likely won’t develop a Twitter policy per se, according a New York Observer story, but will use its guidelines for Facebook. (Read the rules by scrolling all the way down at this link.) In general, they’re milder than WSJ’s:
“Facebook and other social networking sites — MySpace, LinkedIn, even Twitter — can be remarkably useful reporting tools, as the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 proved.”
But then they get just a wee bit paranoid, I think:
“Be careful not to write anything on a blog or a personal Web page that you could not write in The Times — don’t editorialize, for instance, if you work for the News Department. Anything you post online can and might be publicly disseminated, and can be twisted to be used against you by those who wish you or The Times ill — whether it’s text, photographs, or video. That includes things you recommend on TimesPeople or articles you post to Facebook and Digg, content you share with friends on MySpace, and articles you recommend through TimesPeople. … Just remember that we are always under scrutiny by magnifying glass and that the possibilities of digital distortion are virtually unlimited, so always ask yourself, could this be deliberately misconstrued or misunderstood by somebody who wants to make me look bad?”
My reaction: Wow. Newspapers are really, really afraid of readers, sources, everyone. Good grief. With this level of fear it’s no wonder readers might feel disconnected from newspapers.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post’s policy on social media, as explained in Editor & Publisher, includes:
- Use good judgment.
- Notify senior editors beforehand if you plan to Twitter or live-blog something you’re covering.
- Don’t use new media to get into oral “fisticuffs with rivals or critics or to advance personal agendas.”
- Don’t embarrass the newspaper or impair journalistic independence
These are fine to me, although I readily acknowledge that the full list that E&P published on WSJ’s rules is easier to pick on than a few snippets.
Now, here’s a policy I like.
- If you’re using an account for work purposes, identify yourself as an employee of The Gazette.
- If posting something would embarass you or the company, or call your professional reputation into question, DON’T POST IT.
Succinct. Useful. Social. I love it.